Pontivy straddles the river Blavet which runs from the hills of central Brittany down to the sea at Lorient. Canalised all the way and joined to the Nantes Brest canal, this was a major waterway and made Pontivy an important port. The old, medieval town, with its pedestrian streets and open squares, is pleasant to wander around and has some interesting shops and restaurants, as well as a weekly Monday market in the main street.

Pontivy also boasts a castle which was built by the influential Rohan family in the 15th century. Although there is not much of it left, it is nevertheless quite imposing, raised above the end of the main street, and it is open for visits daily.

Napoleon redesigned part of the town when it was scheduled to become the main administrative centre along the Nantes-Brest inland waterway (completed in 1842) in recognition of the inhabitants’ republican sympathies.

Briefly an imperial military base and twice known as Napoleonville, the wide regimented avenues of lower Pontivy and town hall built in the mid 1800s make a striking contrast to the medieval centre.




















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